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Media Coverage Leaves Tainted Impression of Mesh Injury Surgeries and Medical Lien Companies

Reuters logooDeconstructing “The Lien Machine

MND, September 3, 2015 ~A recent series of Reuter’s articles takes a broad swipe at the industries that helps women find the resources they need to obtain mesh-removal surgeries.

With 100,000 plaintiffs now joined in litigation against seven mesh manufacturers, removal of the polypropylene mesh implant may be the only avenue to find some relief for those disabled by the permanent medical device, used to treat incontinence and prolapse.

As a result of “The Lien Machine,” HERE many women may be scared off from seeking and funding the surgeries they desperately need now, rather than later when their case settles if it ever does.

Knowing what questions to ask is an important tool for women who need surgery. Most mesh injuries do not improve over time, in fact, they often get worse, leaving a woman to suffer.

The following is intended to offer some clarity to this story for those who may seek medical management of their mesh cases to make the road an easier one. (Disclosure- no surgical lending or debt buying firm is a supporter of Mesh News Desk).

Drawing courtesy of Jade R.

Drawing courtesy of JadeR.

 

CASH ADVANCE OR DEBT PURCHASE 

There are two ways to obtain financial help to fund your mesh removal surgery when private insurance does not.   A recent story on MND on Lawsuit Financial LLC, (one-time supporter of this site) provides consumers with guidance on how to borrow conservatively.  These cash advances, used to finance surgery or pay a lapsed mortgage, accrue interest, just like a credit card over time, and therefore can become very expensive.

Dollar sign Scott Steiner, WikiCommons

Dollar sign Scott Steiner, WikiCommons

See What You Need to Know Before You Borrow” HERE.

The cash advance company places an uncollateralized lien on her eventual settlement or jury award.  It is expensive money because there is no assurance it will ever be repaid. The percentages accrue over time.

Another vehicle to fund mesh-removal surgery is provided by MedStar, an Austin-Texas-based company that was the focus of the unflattering Reuters reports. In this type of assistance, MedStar, known as a factoring company, buys the discounted medical debt counting on it to eventually be paid by placing a lien on a plaintiff’s settlement or a jury award.

The medical provider determine the debt. There is no interest accruing. It is not unlike the exchanges between banks offering home mortgages. Your bank may sell your mortgage to another lender to collect. It does not change what you owe on your home.  The downside- the cost is often not discounted to the extent it would be for an insurer, Medicare or Medicaid. That is disclosed up front in the fine print.

Bottom Line- Eventually the woman will be expected to pay for her surgery from the settlement money is she is receives or is awarded by a jury. If there is no settlement or award, the bill will be excused by a cash advance company. It may be adjusted or reduced by a factoring company though she is technically on the hook to pay that debt.

 

WHAT SHOULD A PELVIC MESH REMOVAL SURGERY COST?

In the OR, Miklos and Moore

In the OR, Miklos and Moore

The fundamental problems with the Reuters story is it cites insurance reimbursement as indicative of the relative value of a mesh surgery. The insurance industry is slow to catch up with the realities of mesh complications, called by removal surgeon Dr. Veronikis, one of the “darkest chapters in women’s health.”

The Reuters report accuses the surgeon in the story of charging an “inflated bill,” however, without knowing the cost of a surgery, it’s difficult to accuse someone of overcharging.

So what should a pelvic mesh removal surgery cost?

First, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes (partial removal in the office setting usually) to a 4, 5 or 6 hour difficult surgery maneuvering around pudendal nerves, scar tissue, mesh fragments, bladder, urethra, mesh arms, etc.- in other words, a challenge not fit for an amateur.

Dan Christensen, MedStar Funding LLC

Dan Christensen, MedStar Funding LLC

Dan Christensen of MedStar concurs; there is no standard sticker price for a mesh surgery.

“The surgeries come in all shapes and sizes, all done by different doctors in different geographical areas with different levels of experience. It may depend where they practice and their level of expertise. You will see widely differing costs of surgeries also because the surgeon doesn’t know what they are going to encounter.”

In questioning readers what their surgeries cost, Mesh News Desk got the following answers:

One woman from the Midwest said her bill tallied $14,188; another from Canada has been quoted $39,800 by the hospital. That number does not include travel from another country or accommodations.  A woman from Florida says her surgery and three-night hospital stay was $76,894.63.

Those numbers may or may not include the cost of a consult ($1,000) the translabial ultrasound ($1,000), or the urodynamics test (upward of 5,000 to 8,000).

Another woman from New Zealand raised $100,000 to cover the cost of travel to the States to have her mesh removed.

Meanwhile insurance reimburses as little as $350 to $1,600 at UCLA, according to Dr. Shlomo Raz, a leading mesh removal surgeon at UCLA.

Because insurance reimburses so little, many doctors say they are not being adequately compensated for their skill-set or time and do not want anything to do with removal or excision surgeries, not to mention the potential liability.

The doctor in the Reuters story charged $17,000 for a mesh removal surgery, which is in line with the findings of our unscientific survey but again, the reporters used the anemic insurance reimbursement as a standard to declare it an “inflated bill.”

Adding concierge care, that is, book hotels, arranging flights, covering the cost of an OR, thousands more can easily be added to the bill you’re expected to pay.

Bottom Line- Comparing an insurance reimbursement to the actual cost of a surgery is inaccurate and minimizes the severity of these injuries and surgeries needed to correct complications.  Insurance companies and the government receive a discount. In the case of a factoring company, the discount essentially benefits the company purchasing the debt. That’s how they’re paid.

Know what you are buying and what it will cost. Like any purchase- get it in writing. Get the surgical estimate in writing as well. The patient, doctor and lawyer should all have a good idea what the surgery will cost after a medical assessment by an experienced mesh-removal expert. Woman statue resized

 

WHO IS EXPECTED TO PAY THE BILL?

Every time we see a doctor, we are promising to pay the full amount of the charges.  A trip to the emergency room and often the first question is – ‘Who will pay the bill?’  Despite the fact you are bleeding, you often must first sign a paper agreeing to pay the charges.

In the case of a factoring company, the company buys the debt (the medical bill) and becomes the assignee that expects to be paid, whenever. The win-win is the doctor is paid immediately instead of waiting years to receive payment.   The bill is dictated by the medical care she provides and according to MedStar it must be, “usual, customary and reasonable.” In other words, not inflated.

Rick Tadrick, National Director of Business Development for Medfin, another factoring company says in practical terms, if the lawsuit fails, the medical provider and/or the funder is not going to be able to collect anything.

“If it’s diminish value did not reach the threshold we did not estimate it to be, MedFin will sit down with attorney and have to discuss some aspect of a reduction. Everyone participates in the pain of a case that does not meet the threshold we anticipated in recovery.”

Tadrick adds he may not work with that attorney again.

Bottom line– That’s why it is so important a mesh-injured woman has an accurate assessment from a mesh-removal expert, not a doctor who is unfamiliar with mesh complications. The latter may devalue the case.  The former not only makes it easier to obtain funding but eventually it will reflect the actual value of her case when it comes time to settle.

IS THE PATIENT TOLD WHAT THAT SURGERY WILL COST?

There should be no surprises.  After a medical workup, the patient and lawyer consult with the doctor to determine an estimated cost of the surgery.

Absolutely, says Christensen of MedStar.

“We inform the patient and the lawyer what the expected charges will be before the procedures are done.  If the patient or her attorney feel the charges are too high, they can elect to shop around to other providers.  To say someone doesn’t know it was going to be that much in the end means she didn’t read the documents.”

As far as the need to obtain surgery, it could be construed as malpractice if a lawyer knows of a way to a client to receive aid and they neglect or refuse to inform the client of that solution.

Christensen says as far as MedStar, there is no “referral fee” or “kickback” for the lawyer who contacts them.

For her part, the only patient quoted in “The Lien Machine,” said she was not adequately informed about the costs. MND asked Traci Rizzo if she received paperwork and estimates in advance of her surgery.

“No comment lol” she said via email.

Bottom line– If a middleman provides you “concierge services” such as travel, hotel airfare, expect that will increase your bill as well. Get an estimate in writing. Read the fine print which appears in Rizzo’s contract. “PATIENT further acknowledges that medical providers typically receive more for their services when paid by contractual arrangements, such as this, than if they were paid by health insurance companies, government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, or  by the patient in cash.”

 

Doctors, WikiCommons, Olga

Doctors, WikiCommons, Olga

ARE MIDDLEMEN OPERATING IN THE SHADOWS?

A Mesh News Desk story HERE originally reported in October 2013, may have been the basis for the Reuters story.

The allegations of a “scheme” to profit from transvaginal mesh injuries were made by American Medical System after it was tipped off by one of their consultant/doctors. It refers to middlemen who work in the shadows as brokers. AMS deposed the participants last year though there has since been no follow-up.

Dan Christensen, owner of MedStar, is also an attorney, therefore is required to be an officer of the court. He says AMS alleged the doctor was told to falsify information in a medical report to increase the value of cases. He says that was a misunderstanding.

“I would never be involved with someone who would do something like that.  All anyone saying is whatever you do or don’t do or observe, on these cases you need to document everything!   Treatment notes could be a few lines of chicken scratch and that’s it.  That may suffice in a managed care case being submitted to Blue Cross. When you talk about litigation, it’s important to document everything he sees or does.”

In the case of TVM (transvaginal mesh) litigation, MSO’s (Medical Service Organizations) typically are the middlemen that assist in coordinating care.

Christensen gives an example of how an MSO works.

“Take a surgical facility.  It’s empty Saturday morning. The MSO will say ‘I can fill it where it will otherwise go empty and I will pay you x-dollars whether I use it or not.  The facility will say yes.  Now this MSO says I will buy that block of time at this rate.  Through those relationships, the MSO can negotiate good pricing and guarantee payments to make the medical providers comfortable about doing these surgeries. “

Mesh News Desk has reported on another type of middle man – lead generators who solicit clients to sign up for litigation, whether or not they are injured. How they obtain your name and number is a mystery.  Your editor was even called by one that promised I might be able to recoup dollars by joining in litigation. See the story of “Patrick” HERE.

Bottom Line- Hang up if someone is trying to solicit you over the telephone.  A mesh-injured woman should seek a qualified law firm, preferable one that specializes in cases naming her mesh manufacturer.  See the Southern District of West Virginia, HERE, a federal court in Charleston, where 80,000 mesh cases are consolidated. Click on your manufacturer then on your mesh maker and in the fine print above see which law firms are taking these cases to trial (See Steering committees, Lead and Liaison Counsel).

CAN A WOMAN WALK AWAY WITH NOTHING?

If a woman receives a settlement that doesn’t cover the cost of her medical bills, she can simply refuse it.  Her lawyer will not be happy.  He or she is paid only when the plaintiff agrees to accept the settlement offer and some law firms have spend a million dollars or more to bring one plaintiff to trial. Medicare will get nothing and neither will the doctor.

In that case, MedStar’s Christensen says the companies will put their heads together and come up with a compromised amount and try to get something in her pocket.

Another factoring company that buys medical bills is Arizona-based MedFin.  Rick Tadrick, National Director of Business Development for MedFin says that is why it’s so important a realistic medical assessment of her injuries be done before the surgery is performed.

“Miklos and Moore may say she is not surgical; They will not do one simply to do one.  No doctor will. Any of these others, I don’t believe they will do one to bump up a case either.

If she qualifies for surgery, Tadrick will more likely buy that debt after a review with her attorney to make sure it is a solid case.

Bottom Line – If your case offers a disappointing settlement, most companies will work with you and your attorney to make sure the woman has something. If a jury does not award anything on a case, the debt may be excused completely, even though technically you are still obligated to pay.

HOW THIS ARTICLE MIGHT HURT THE MESH-INJURED PLAINTIFFS

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

The fundamental problems with “The Lien Machine” is it cites insurance reimbursement as the relative value of a mesh surgery.  In the process it diminishes the seriousness of a mesh-injury and the degree of complication involved in removing an implanted medical device that was intended to be permanent, though never tested on humans before being marketed.

Mesh News Desk has interviewed many doctors who complain that insurance reimbursement rates are an insult to those already hurt by the medical profession and mesh makers. Unless they receive a salary, many opt to do the mesh explants only if insurance is not involved.

Christensen defends MedStar and the way it does business.

“The procedures we have in place I am completely satisfied with in that we do notify what the expected charges are. We have no control over the charges, they are dictated by the medical provider.  Unfortunately they are trying to characterize MedStar is trying to take advantage or gouging these patient but that’s not the truth,” he tells Mesh News Desk.

Reuters takes a swipe at trial attorneys as well. In a follow-up story, it asked the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) to weigh in on trial lawyers and medical funders. ATRA is behind the tort reform movement and funded by the very big industries, asbestos, tobacco that attorneys take to trial.

Christensen is concerned that the story is being repeated on the internet and held up as an authoritative piece of journalism when in fact, no one from Reuters talked to him or anyone from his company before writing, “The Lien Machine.”

How then as he quoted for the article? Christensen’s comments were taken from his deposition with AMS last year, he says, therefore were out of context.

He has a point.  The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics makes it clear – Give the focus of your story an opportunity to answer all criticisms. It says “Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.”

See the code HERE.

“Clearly these journalists had an agenda. What could be the net effect is funding entities decide they don’t want anything to do with mass tort clients because of the target they could become if they are trying to help.

“The market needs to be informed, not incited,” he says. #

 

POSTSCRIPT

Defendant manufacturers are now citing the Reuters articles to delay paying hip replacement cases that DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) was ordered to pay in that litigation that covered the medical expenses to have the defective metal-on-metal hips removed.

38 Comments

  1. Alison Frankel says:

    Dear Mesh Medical Device News Desk,

    I am the co-author of the Reuters story that is the subject of your post. Our article speaks for itself. You did, however, imply that my co-author and I improperly failed to seek comment from Dan Christensen of MedStar. In fact, we left multiple phone messages for him and when he did not respond, sent him a detailed email asking for a response to the particular allegations raised in the story. At Reuters, a 164-year-old news agency respected around the world, we always operate with high standards of journalistic integrity.

    –Alison Frankel

    • Jan Urban says:

      Alison Frankel, I to question the journalistic integrity of Reuters and other publications associated with the main media.The scarce amount of reporting on the mesh debacle for more then a decade screams cover up. The mesh debacle would normally be a reporters dream scoop it has all the twists and turns needed to keep its readers engaged and interested. It may have prevented women from being harmed from a mesh implant. Think about it FDA starts receiving complaints of adverse effects from women implanted with pelvic mesh devices in 2008. that is all that is reported. 2011 FDA issues a statement and warning and says they have notify Doctors by letters with the warning advising them to inform patients of the adverse events that could take place. That’s basically all the coverage there was on pelvic mesh a few small bits and pieces. All the wile 100,000’s and 100,000’s of woman are being permanently injured by these untested defective toxic mesh implants. Women’s lives have been ruined destroyed they have lost their health, suffering debilitating 24/7 pain, jobs, careers, health insurance savings, retirement funds, homes, cars, husbands and are now forced to seek public assistance paid for by the state and federal governments women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s.50’s 60’s active healthy intelligent women’s lives are gone ruined by a piece of plastic, and there is much more to the story. One of the largest Mass tort in history….Congress, the FDA and the main media all have a hand in this debacle. Something is seriously wrong here….I think you get the picture….Mesh Hurts…Women’s Lives Matter…Jan Urban

      • Jane Akre says:

        Jan- I agree…. what a hell of a story this mesh mess it- the darkest chapter in women’s health, 100-thousand cases, and they are not trivial. A settlement of $40,000 does not signify that these are minimal injuries one can put a band-aid on, nor does reporting about $1,000 surgeries. Even if you don’t care about injured women, Americans are paying the cost of corporate malfeasance in that they sent these medical devices into the market with no testing and knowing they would cause problems. Just sit in one of these trials and you will be blown away. It sounds like a corporate crime novel,,,,, but it’s true! There are so many stories here that reporters used to dig into.

        Lets get off the ‘hate lawyers” bandwagon (not to excuse the actions of some, 40% for shuffling paper!) and look at the real big issues. You nailed it Jan. However, I do appreciate all the effort Alison and Jessica put into the story… it got global attention. Perhaps they will do more, even cover a trial. They will not be disappointed!

      • tammy says:

        Amen an a animal should be treated thid away i can not beleave how down i am most people would maybe just take there life ive been striped of every thing an i see nothing insight for me how can this be happening i 6years of this lies lies an more lies god please help me this country an wourld is trearting wemon so bad now so so very sad i just want peace not drugs an knifes

        • Mary says:

          Jane I posted last night asking what’s going on and why you object to a news agency reporting these travesties ! Did you or someone erase my post? It’s not there.

          Mary

          • Jane Akre says:

            Hi Mary- Posts must be approved and even I sometimes need a break… I hope you understand. Stepping away from the computer on the weekend is good mental health in my opinion.

      • mary babb says:

        Yes J&J has ruin all of our lives we were full of life now we are struggling to get up in the morning with pain pills its a shame we have to suffer i had 5 surgeries and don’t think i am through yet living day to day i love life and still try to live the best i can i still go on with my life but its not easy why they don’t fess up and settle with us it wont ease the pain but could make life a little easier i fill for all the women that are suffering i think J&J are waiting for us to die i do believe in karma and i hope it comes back to bite them. they make millions every day greed is a way of life with them.

    • Ms. Frankel:

      My representative attempted to call you multiple times and left messages, to no avail. By not confirming the “facts” that Ms. Rizzo related to you, you unfortunately published an article replete with inaccuracies and false allegations. Such misinformation does a disservice to your readers.

      I did not respond to you directly because I was informed that some of the patients had complained that you had contacted them and tried to persuade them that MedStar and the medical management company was “ripping them off.” And then, Ms. Rizzo’s medical provider reported to me that you hung up on them when you didn’t like what they said. Such unprofessional conduct demonstrates you had an agenda in writing your article, as opposed to reporting objectively or impartially. That is too bad and I suspect not in line with the “high standards of journalistic integrity” that Reuters would like to maintain.

      These mesh victims need information, not propaganda. I am glad that Ms. Akre has provided that in this article.

  2. Traci Rizzo says:

    She spit this article out in a flash Alison lol. She was just on a group page on the 3rd asking women for their surgical.costs so I knew something ugly was coming. I’m sure you notice the mocking format she uses . I have noticed that she had a fundersponsored on her page wHo is now gone. I’m sure this upset her to loose this income. It’s fine to report on the story but this is an attack not based on facts as we both know based on our knowledge she’s lacking. This is the sad nasty facts in our community that we have a reporter / advocate that claims to help us but in fact is obligated to her financiers! Many affiliated with the story themselves so poor Janehad no choice but to attack a credible reporter and attempt tto victimizeme again with ddisparaging remarks ! I certainly hope that those that follow her will finally see that she does not care !! I was pretty upset and am but will let it roll off because it just brings more attention to the facts thank you Jane and shows her desperate attempt for attention and money !!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Traci- I’m sorry you were truly injured by a doctor then apparently a lawyer, who made promises that he couldn’t keep. I don’t believe the article disparages you, please read it again with a clear eye. No one means you harm.

      BTW – You many not be familiar with the commenting policy of Mesh News Desk here:

      http://meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/policy-for-comments-on-mesh-news-desk

      I would ask you to be respectful. Baseless accusations of my associations with law firms are just that. I clearly state my sponsors.

      As always, if there are any inaccuracies, I will be happy to address them.

  3. As usual… you’re flip with the flash attack and then pandering the next minute with a pat on the head to the reporter who provided ACTUAL REPORTING of an issue that has PLAGUED the mesh community for some time. To clarify… you ARE THE PLAGUE JANE… can’t wait until the world sees you for what you really are. There’s a trail of evidence all over the place you’ve left behind and all it’s going to take is the right people to find it. I really hope the IRS is starting to eye you’re accounts right about now.

    Oh yes… I read you’re policies… I don’t care… you can F**K the HELL off out of the mesh world and return to milk manor as soon as possible. We’re all SICK to DEATH of you and your lies!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Kim- I took the liberty again to edit out your comments. Can’t we try a little kindness? Maybe counselling can help you explore your anger issues. Take care.

  4. FYI… those “INACCURACIES” you speak of that need to be addressed… when exactly did you fix little Miss Liar Estelle Tasz who apparently is f****ng all the men she can possibly “do”… all while being you’re POSTER CHILD… yes… I see the articles have never been fixed. Full of lies… and never fixed or addressed. Let’s just sweep the sl** under the rug along with everything else you do.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Kim- I took the liberty to edit out some of the language you use. I thought it was important to show who you are. You don’t believe she’s mesh injured? That will come as news to her attorney who has filed a product liability lawsuit on her behalf against Ethicon. The case number is 2:12-cv-04706. Perhaps you could pray for Estelle rather than condemn her. Take care.

  5. mary babb says:

    Jane,, what if you cant fix the mesh problem i have had 5 surgeries and i am still having big problems i fill so sorry for these women i had my mesh took out after the infection and pain my doctor didn’t wont to believe it was the mesh until another doctor told him to take another look that is when they found the mesh wrapped around my intestines that he cut my colon into i had a colostomy for 5 month than they reattached it back i have had three more surgeries for the same pain and stomach problems its hard to go to the bathroom it is pretty bad i believe J&J wants all of us to just die and go away but we are still struggling i just don’t think they can fix our problem for we don’t have anything inside to attach anything to hold our insides up if anybody with the same problem let me know .. mary

    • Jane Akre says:

      Mary, I’m so sorry. Five surgeries,,, were any with an expert? Im curious. Some women have more than a dozen surgeries… I believe gong to a doc who specializes in removals and having few is probably the best course, I’m not a doctor or lawyer though. J&J could be doing so much to fund these surgeries… but it is not. That’s one of the reasons we went to its shareholders meeting last year. Nothing changed, but they knew we were there….. You never know what impact your actions are having within a company. Let us know your docs and if you need another referral..janeakre@eshnewsdesk.com

      • mary babb says:

        Jane, yes my Doc was suppose to have been the best in greenville sc he was the doc. that taught most doc. in and around sc but the ones that done some of the others was he taught them but if you have nothing to attach anything to what then i am almost scared to have another surgery but if i knew what and how i might be interested to know a doc around my area i am on medicare and medicaid mary.

  6. Traci Rizzo says:

    Jane 🙂 I have EXCELLENT insurance so speaking of me specifically I’ve only had to use funding once !! Was not quoted a price by no one until the end lol. I was reassured by my attorney that it would be wise to do this and I was with the best doctors both huge lies !! I am fortunate now since to have had excellent surgeons save my life after a failed removal by the very dr that developed my kit I’ve list most all my intestines among other atrocities that I’m seeking treatment for after this debacle some may call fair treatment. My insurance finds this interesting themselves and will be covering my needs going forward. I did read your article again everything is inaccurate lol everyone was given fair opportunity and denied it. Alison doesn’t need advice from you or others on reporting legal matters or being in a courtroom. I quite frankly don’t give a damn what you or your chosen contributors say to manipulate the facts. Mesh has opened opportunities for many to gain financially haven’t they Jane ?? As far as your warning please be aware I don’t give two shots about your rules lol so please block me from this trash bin like as you like to threaten lol I don’t visit it nearly at all except for keeping up with cashdashians

  7. Traci Rizzo says:

    By that of course I mean you , your groupies and nasty associates. Enjoy your holiday weekend and try not to choke on your words or filet as I eat threw a straw !! As far as liens and factoring go in this world it needs to be regulated !! I had another lien lol I didn’t dispute ha so there wonder what the difference was. Maybe miklos and moore shouldn’t make it so difficult to see them unless you use this system or mess. But if course I wouldn’t recommend them for free myself !! FYI in case anyone’s confused I don’t give a rats ass got it ?? No one has done me a favor or even done there job right for that matter !! I’ve been injured in multiple ways and not found justice yet ! So go after the manufacturers for not paying the bill blame whoever but don’t you dare blame me or the reporter who covered and interesting portion of this business and will continue.

  8. Traci Rizzo says:

    Oh clarification. I had 2 loans that one for my surgery and one I didn’t dispute as I asked for it and new the terms well due to hard times in the loss of my father in the midst of this. I do find it interesting that many professionals find the need to have a side business in a not so savory area. For example it’s not very enticing when you see your gynecologist at a porn convention or expect to respect others who may operate in that thin line of ethics in any area !! Please consider focusing on yourself before you stumble. I won’t comment or entertain this topic with you again. You have a fan club that is either ignorant sadly or as greedy as you. Focus your efforts on helping others rather than attempting to discredit people who have the facts unlike yourself !!

    • Jane Akre says:

      No discredit intended……. I’m sorry for your injuries and ongoing troubles. It sounds as though you received promises that turned out not to be true.

  9. Traci Rizzo says:

    I was absolutely misled it was devastating the extent of it all. I’m not even angry anymore I’m sad. I have a close friend who went through the same thing post op at ucla with raz now. I want to be clear the manufacturers are tge ultimate enemy and 2 tgere is a place for funding when necessary ! There is a subset of women many just a smaller amount that did in fact experience this. My goal was to encourage everyone to be proactive and not take everyone’s word I’m not stupid I’m hurt and use to be trusting of those that should be trusted. Just the stress of this makes me physically sick but no one cares it’s always them playing the victim. I’m in a bad medical condition now I don’t know if I’m even healthy enough to withstand the surgery I need. That alone which is documented by more than one doctor should cause others to have empathy but they don’t. I can’t change people’s motivations all I wanted to do is warn others which I do know several personally that are about to deal with this and it’s more than upsetting. It takes me at least 3 times as long to accomplish anything I have children and a grandson on the way. I have a family I apologize to daily for something I didn’t cause. I have a 14 year old son that this has affected seriously. I’ve spent 3 to 4 weeks in the hospital 3 times since my partial removal 2 of which I had emergency surgery 1 was so bad that I had to be moved 3 hours away because the surgeon there told me they weren’t willing to operate due to the risk it wasn’t elective it was an emergency. This mesh migrated like shrapnel

  10. Mary says:

    What in the world I don’t get this. I’m trying to understand why you are upset about this article Reuters researched. Why aren’t these people that are attacking this injured woman being erased? We all need to know this! So if I don’t agree with what’s being said or in line with someone I guess from your reaction that you support my post gets deleted. But these people can just rip this lady apart and that’s fine with you? I am so disappointed in you and what you are allowing.

    You don’t have to bother erasing my comments anymore because I won’t be posting. This is wrong what’s happening here and you all know it! No injured person should be treated this way!

    Mary

  11. Traci Rizzo says:

    Does anyone hear Tammy above????? I understand I feel the same throughout this I have never in my life thought of not wanting to be on this earth anymore than I have in the last year ! I just want to let go so bad sometimes and stop fighting why am I fighting with healthy , rich people ? Why are ya’ll surprised I’m pissed ? I have kids and surprise your family and life is no more important than MINE ! Jane your a fucking bitch and Dan is too ! Stop behaving like you can’t handle it you both live a nastier life than mouth !

  12. JJ says:

    I think the Reuters article was well written and informative. Mesh News Desk has certainly provided coverage of mesh issues for several years, which is appreciated. But it is also nice to see journalists from mainstream media like Reuters taking an interest in mesh issues. Alison Frankel & Jessica Dye interviewed a number of women from our online mesh community, myself included, and I found the reporters to be fair, compassionate, and empathetic, as well as honest and thorough. Theirs is another angle, another viewpoint, and rather than attacking their article, we should appreciate the coverage and use the information to ask more questions. As for the woman in the article who was victimized by a medical funding company – that could have been me in her shoes, had I not been lucky enough to have insurance that covered my entire surgery. Anyone who has had mesh pain/erosion can attest that you get to a point where money doesn’t matter – you just need the mesh out, you need relief. I would likely have used a medical funding company or whatever resource was available, regardless of the interest rate, if I had no other choice. And I may not have “read the fine print” either, considering that when a person is in that kind of life-threatening pain, it is almost impossible to think clearly and focus on every little detail the way we normally could if we were not in such severe pain. I think the woman in the article is brave for coming forward and allowing her name to be used publicly, something most of us were not willing to do. I thank the Reuters reporters, and MMND, and any other news source that is willing to cover our mesh issues. I would love to see even more media coverage from many different sources, and am hopeful that articles will be written by many journalists in the future. Thank you all.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Thank you JJ for your reasonable and clear thoughts. Agreed… more coverage is needed on the Big Issues…. Absolutely!!! Take a look at the SPJ Code of Ethics,, using a year old deposition is a clear violation….. That was part of the reason this piece was done. Also it cannot be stressed enough, do not rely on what your lawyer tells you or a paralegal or anyone in the office. Read the fine print. Promises like “You have a million dollar case”….. (woman was actually told that) is hollow at best. No one can tell you the value of your case… No one. That is a sales pitch!!

      • Barb says:

        Jane I hoe your weekend was well!! The paralegal that I deal with a few months back specifically told me in a laughing matter that there will be NO MILLION PAYOUT! I have sent several emails with great concern dealing with medicaid/medicare. I believe that any woman who has gone to court and been awarded punitive damages including monies for future medical issues, awarded for finding these devices are defective, the bio films that they really don’t know what these chemicals will/do effect our bodies and organs, where does a woman fit with having 2 defective devices, still have both devices with septis and literally 18 other mesh associated injuries caused by this monster still no answere on the numbering system they are putting on our injuries or the money sadly said we are ALL still at the mercy of our manufacturer’s and attorney’s. But they feel we should feel grateful that AMS that they have set a side a percentage for woman needing surgery from January 1 2015 to December 31 2016. BS, many of us will need further surgeries down the road that will pass this time and not all surgeries will be covered. I have also taken on a different mood in demanding direct answere’s instead of hearing “I haven’t heard that” or “I don’t know”. and in my doctor’s notes it states due to several complications from the mesh the chance of me being 100% will never happen!! Since my surgery July 17, 2015 I had informed them a month before that surgery was going to happen sometime in July first was told they needed to be informed so they could send a preservastion kit however having 2 days notice was not enough time now I feel like I’m being scolded because we don’t know if it was saved! Not my fault, then they decided it was ok because I sent them all paper work however in the past 2 weeks they decided they need me to sign a medical authorization form to sent to the hospital to see if they did save the mesh, I’ve been acting like a child they have called, sent emails telling me how important it is that this form is returned asap, I guess I will fax tomorrow! I wish I could actually speak to an attorney I’m not being told the same thing when I ask the same question……………………ranting sorry

        • Barb says:

          And wanted to add what the woman that has gone to court and awarded a significally amount why can’t we also be considered for the same thing?? Some have more injuries some have less!! We all may as well except that some of us will be in greater despair then we are now!! I along with other’s is deeply depressed, see no justice deserved, fighting for ourselves, extremely concerned about health issues now and future, more in dept, the list goes on Jane!

        • Jane Akre says:

          Your rant is appropriate Barb…. for their 40% you deserve to speak to someone! This is just wrong! Can you become a very squeaky wheel?

    • JJ:

      I agree with you that covering the challenges TVM victims have faced is important work. But, it should be done responsibly and objectively. Ms. Frankel and Ms. Dye from Reuters failed on both counts. Ms. Akre’s article, by contrast, delivers good information that can be used by TVM victims when deciding whether they should use medical funding. Medical funding is not always the right answer and Ms. Akre suggests some good questions that patients should ask.

      The Reuters’ article, on the other hand, does nothing but incite. For example, in order to come to the conclusion that a patient has been “victimized by a medical funding company,” one would have to know at least:

      (1) what she and/or her lawyer were told prior to the procedure,

      (2) what documents she signed prior to the procedure with both the funder and the medical provider,

      (3) what the usual, customary and reasonable CHARGE (not medicare reimbursement rate) is for the same procedure in that geographical area,

      (4) did the funder have any control over the charges or were they determined by the medical provider,

      (5) what interest, if any, was the patient charged, and

      (6) what did the patient receive as a gross settlement from her claim.

      The Reuters article either misstated or completely omitted ALL of the above facts. Yet, the authors amazingly conclude that MedStar took advantage and that medical funding is a predatory practice. As Albert Eistein said, “if the facts don’t support the theory, change the facts,” which is exactly what these authors did. Ms. Frankel and Ms. Dye’s article was slanderous, irresponsible and did a disservice to the entire TVM community.

  13. K says:

    I do not understand why people are upset that jane is reporting and giving options for women needing removals. If you had no other option and the pain is keeping you from working and functioning daily why would you wait for a settlement that may never happen. Why would someone wait and waiste years being bedridden when funding companies are an option? I am so grateful my mesh is out. Angry bitter people do not help this mess!!!! Sounds like a good dose of counseling is needed. People are capable of making their own decisions and Jane can’t force anyone to participate in the above. We are mesh injured not brain dead!!!! Thanks for everything you have always done Jane and know most of us appreciate your coverage and help.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Thanks K- you are right… many women are suffering post traumatic stress and it is very sad. There is a woman who may write on this site about it….. so much needed .

  14. guest says:

    Jane,

    I posted back in April how sick I was, and it is Sept now, and I am still very sick. Had the mesh removed. Got sicker. Having another surgery today. Scared to death. I have the best attorneys, best doctors, best insurance, and access to good hospitals. It doesn’t matter. I can’t get well.

    Again, NONE OF IT MATTERS.

    When mesh attacks, it attacks hard. It is worse than any other disease because you can’t fight it. There is no cure.. This is what the courts and jury and the doctors and everyone needs to understand. There is no fixing it. There is no cure.

    The damage can not be undone.

    We need the settlements before we die. We deserve it. We earned it. The Pharm Companies got rich off of us. For no reason they pushed these bad death causing devices on women and some men.

    They knew it was a bad product. What is wrong with men hating on women?

    The mesh particles are in my body destroying my immune system. I was better and so happy until three weeks after the removal, and then wham! Too sick to get out of bed, numerous doctor trips, so many meds, so much pain…for the past 5 months. FIVE MONTHS.

    I try not to hate the men who did this to me, who were never doctors, but reps who sold a bad product and sold women out. I can’t get past the fact that men who had no experience in women’s health and no medical training at all, trained DOCTORS on how to use the mesh kits and helped PERFORM THE SURGERIES.

    PUT THAT IN YOUR ARTICLE ROOT OF ALL EVIL- E CORP REUTERS. THAT ARTICLE IS A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. Thrown together and no regard to the thousands suffering. No cause & effect, no who, what, when, where, how or why? Just an FYI article. Weak sources. It could have been so much more. But you down played it.

    Mesh victims will say anything, do anything, promise anything, give up anything to have the mesh out. M&M have heard it all. They do the best they can. They don’t make anything from most insurance companies. They are telling the truth on that.

    My attorneys advised me NOT to become involved with the funding for any reason. I was contacted by a group out of Florida about 18 months ago. A doctor was involved too. It sounded to good to be true, and it was. The interest rate and fees were out of control. These people do pray on mesh victims. Congress can not ignore this situation much longer.

    • Jane Akre says:

      As you know from the story, not all rely on interest bearing loans…. some just obtain the discounted as their funding. I’m sorry you continue to suffer and you are right…. there are so many good stories out there about human ethics, or lack of, about what the companies knew in advance of selling their mesh products. Agreed about Congress…. it will get there I believe. Again I’m so sorry for your pain. Let me know if I can do anything.

    • kitty says:

      Guest—your post was so very very well said—when the mesh starts attacking it is relentless. Bravo for your post. It’s not a matter of just getting it out–

  15. Traci Rizzo says:

    I am no longer upset with this article it’s typical from you Jane. I have expressed to you in the past the extent of my injuries due to mesh and the pain I’m in daily is nothing less than brutal !!! Go ahead with your good work but for Petes sake don’t act as if you care about the injured that should be a huge disclaimer. As far as those injured who support Jane that’s your prerogative just know you don’t have the full truth and I won’t be back here to care about any additional comments. I could go on for days with proof of your cherry picking of stories. I believe there is plenty missing that is recent. You just choose not to report it lol. If it’s your goal to protect those that participate in hurting women to line your pockets you will be plenty busy soon I’m sure. I’m barred from saying to much just to receive the little I was rightly given. Apparently it wasn’t enough for the other side so they have to attack back. Sure it upset me the readers don’t know half of it and yall know this and use it. I’ve had plenty of women tell me that you have plain told them you don’t care about injuries that’s not your job but to report on hearings and such but I think we both know you cherry pick that too. As far as the article with reuters you can all think what you wish. The stipulations Dan mentioned above was met lol and then some. It was fact checked and then some. Way beyond anything Jane fact checks. I won’t attempt again to defend myself or the story. The truth will all come out soon enough and without my help. I have my health to focus on. I truly wish the injured here good health and for your own good I recommend you simply look into things a bit further instead of just taking someone’s word. All I know is my goal was to warn others of a unique situation and it’s far from what they claim here. Focus on healing that’s what I have to do !! There is a slew of people from every area using you as a commodity ! If they can do their work and live with how they earn their money then fine. I guess I have a higher standard than those and glad to know. Ok have a great week I’m going back to not paying attention to the mess that mesh has caused. Like I’ve said any disaster brings out the vultures.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Traci- you keep saying you will not visit then you return. Regardless you are welcome here. I work providing news and information to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, some detractors enjoy hurting other women which I think is despicable. If you have any specific criticism let me know. cherry pick stories? I’m one person. I do this full time. I’ve easily spent $50,00 of my own retirement money on this effort and your criticize! Amazing. What makes me sad is the internal fighting has dissolved the strength of the mesh injured community. The Essure folks are gathered with the FDA right now! They have national media. They are united! The ugly folks with black hearts, who are likely injured and on drugs, have divided the community, to what end I do not know. To their own end? Do they work for industry? I do not know so I will not speculate. But it is a damn shame. Please help to make things better and not be hateful. Thank you for listening.

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